Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Spruce Creek Pennsylvania
Spruce Creek is a wonderful little brown trout limestone
spring creek. The only problem it has is the very limited
access the public has to fish the stream. Most of the
creek is on property owned by clubs or private

Some local outfitters have access to certain parts of it
and you can fish it provided you use them. Other than
that, the only access for the public is a section owned by
Penn State University. They use it for a study of the
brown trout. It is located above the little town of Spruce
Creek. It is about a half-mile long section of the stream
that is strictly "catch and release" with artificial lures and
flies only.

The stream is an excellent limestone spring creek with
cool water flowing through it year-round. There are
plenty of wild brown trout and some that are stocked by
the local clubs. It has very good aquatic insect hatches.
Fly fishing Spruce Creek can range from easy to difficult
depending on how well you can match its hatches.

Spruce Ceek is a tributary of the Little Juniata. State
highway #45 borders the stream fairly closely its entire

This stream is located in a very scenic valley in beautiful
Central Pennsylvania. It is a perfect little limestone
spring creek capable of growing large brown trout , with
numerous aquatic insects and great fishing. Its only
problem is the lack of access.

Unless you fish in the public section owned by Penn
State, you are going to pay to fish. Of the thirteen mile
long stream, this is the only public area you can fish. In
addition, there are currently three sections you can fish
for a fee.

When you are fishing Spruce Creek you know exactly
what your target species is because there are only one
species of trout in Spruce Creek - the brown trout. This
should help you in many ways because knowing the
habitats of the browns helps you pinpoint their location.

The larger brown trout tend to stay hidden during the
day and only come out to feed during low light
conditions such as rainy day when there is heavy cloud
cover. Early mornings and late afternoons and early
evening are always best. That is not to say that it is
impossible to catch a large brown during the middle of
the day on a dry fly, but the odds of doing so are not
very good for sure. By far the best time to catch the
trout during the day out in the sun so to speak is during
a hatch. The food causes the trout to lose a lot of their
normal caution.

Another good time to catch the larger brown trout is
during pre-spawn conditions. The brown trout become
more exposed during the day prior to building redds and
spawning. They also become far more aggressive. They
don't feed as such but rather don't let any intruders get
near their areas.
Type of Stream
Limestone Spring Creek

Brown Trout


Central Pennsylvania

Nearest Towns
Spruce Creek Pennsylvania
State College Pennsylvania

Year - round

Easy but very limited

Special Regulations
Catch and Release Section

Non-Resident License
State of Pennsylvania

National Weather Service Link

Hatch Chart
Perfect Fly Hatch Chart

Fly Fishing Gear and Trout Flies
Spruce Creek
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We do not condone fishing for spawning trout
but catching those not holding on redds is not
only fair play, it's often done accidentally. If
your fishing in areas during the legal season
when the trout are spawning, you don't have
much of a choice other than refusing to fish.

When you are fishing for wild trout, and the
brown trout in Spruce are all wild trout, one of
the most important things you can do is to
match the most plentiful and available food the
trout are focused on at the time. That can vary
the locations of feeding trout within the stream.
The water coming out of the spring on its
upper end stays a constant temperature but
of course changes the farther downstream it
You can fish the stream during the winter
and using midge imitations, usually catch
The best time for fly fishing Spruce Creek is
during the spring. It has a tremendous
number of hatches and the fishing can be
Fly Fishing Guide to Spruce Creek
Spruce Creek is a small, narrow spring creek
with heavy tree cover and bushes along its
banks. There are basically two approaches to
use fishing Spruce Creek. One is to fish the
hatches as mentioned above. This also
includes fishing the pre-hatch stages. By that
I mean if a certain mayfly is hatching, you
should fish the nymphs in the areas the
mayfly hatches during the morning or up until
the hatch starts and then change to an
emerger or dun pattern. You should also fish
the spinner fall.

When nothing is hatching, the brown trout
and especially the larger ones, stay hidden.
To catch them you are going to have to put
your fly where they are likely hiding. Undercut
banks, under the heavy tree cover near the
banks, under any deadfalls or other things in
the water that provide cover for the brown
trout. Undercut banks, areas in the dark
shaded areas under the heavy tree cover
near the banks, under any deadfalls or other
things in the water that provide cover for the
brown trout.
This doesn't mean you need to "match the
hatch" anymore than you need to "match
what is going to hatch". Matching the insect
nymphs and larvae is just as important as
matching the adult insects - mayfly duns,
caddisfly, midge and stonefly adults. Using
Simi-realistic imitation of crustaceans,
sculpin and baitfish, such as our Perfect
Flies, will also prove to be an advantage.
Guide, continued:
This is normally done using a nymph or
caddis larva imitation such as a Green
Rock Worm. Streamers also work okay for
this provided you can get the fly where you
need to get it without constantly hanging

Catching trout in Spruce Creek isn't always
easy. You earn what you catch but they
are certainly not impossible to catch. It
challenges your skills like any good trout
stream should. It takes good
presentations, carefully planned
strategies, and often a close match of your
fly to the most available insects, or those
that are hatching at the time. Mistakes will
cost you. This isn't a stream you should
expect to catch twenty or thirty trout a day
on even though that is very possible. Big
brown trout have been called "wise",
"smart" and many other names they
probably didn't rightly deserve in a
technical sense. However, it is very easy to
understand how those names came about.
Spruce Creek Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Spruce Creek and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call.  We
not only will help you with selections, you will
learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of
the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else.

This little limestone stream has a huge
aquatic insect population. When major
hatches occur, the brown trout almost feed
exclusively or selectively on the particular
insect that is hatching. That can be both
good and bad. If you match it correctly, you
can usually catch some nice brown trout. If
not, you can do a lot of casting and spook a
lot of trout.

During the winter, midges are about the only
game but imitations of them will catch fish
most any day of the winter. In the early
Spring, the Blue-winged Olives start hatching
around the first of April and last past the
middle of May. They will hatch a second time
starting in September and last until about the
middle of October. They are one of the most
important hatches on the stream due to the
length of time they hatch.

Other than the BWOs, the Blue Quills and
Hendricksons are the first of the mayflies to
hatch. They both start around the first of
April. Usually the Blue Quills are the first to
hatch. Both hatches last less than a month
depending where you are fishing the stream.

Just prior to the start of these mayfly hatches
you will find the Little Black Caddis or
American Grannom caddisflies hatching. The
hatch last less than a month. The Green
Sedges start about the same time but last
through the month of June. The Cinnamon
Caddis hatch for about two months starting
around the first of June. There are several
other minor caddisfly hatches that occur.
Hatches, continued:
Slate Drakes and Sulphurs both start to
hatch about the first of May. The Slate
Drakes hatch is off and on for the next five
months or longer. The Sulphur is one of
the better hatches on Spruce Creek. It last
until about the middle of June.

The big Eastern Green Drakes will hatch
near the end of May and last about two to
three weeks. Light Cahills hatch starting
about the same time and continue for
approximately a month.

Tricos hatch starting around the first of July
and last through August. About the time
the hatch ends the White Flies start
hatching keeping some type of mayfly on
the water during the late summer and early
fall. The White Flies, called White Drakes
by some anglers, will hatch until about the
end of October.

The terrestrial season gets underway on
Spruce Creek about the middle of June.
Grasshopper and beetles are usually the
first insects you will notice but the ants get
large enough to get the trout's attention
not long after that. Another thing you don't
want to overlook is the little green inch
worms or moth larvae. They fall off the
trees lining the stream and are eaten by
the trout. Caneflies are another insect you
shouldn't ignore. They become important in
the late summer when few hatches are

The best procedure to use for selecting
flies is to look at our
"Perfect Fly" Spruce
Creek Hatch Chart and select the flies you
need from it. Specific imitations of what is
hatching and/or most available are much
better than generic or attractor flies on
Spruce Creek. You may want to carry a few
streamer flies along. They are good when
the water gets a little off color from heavy
With the cool spring water and the canopy
of trees and bushes along the way, the
water stays fairly cool all summer long. It
can become low during low water years
when there is little snow and rain.
The brown trout spawn in the fall and
some of the larger brown trout move out of
the Little Juniata up into Spruce Creek to
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Spruce Creek Fishing Report - 05/19/14
Stream levels are currently high but falling fast.

Stream Conditions at 05/19/14:

7 Day Weather Forecast:
There is a chance of rain on Wednesday and Thrusday,
otherwise clear
. Highs will range from 69 to 76 and lows from 42 to 55 degrees.

Recommended Trout Flies:
Afternoon Water Temperature: 55
Clarity: Slight Stain
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
The Black Matuka Sculpin and Olive Matuka Sculpin streamer flies are good for the
larger size trout and during low light levels or stained water.
Scuds are available for the trout to eat year-round. There are plenty of blue-winged
olive nymphs for the trout to eat and they can begin to hatch in February on warm,
cloudy days.
Hendricksons/Red Quills are hatching. Fish the nymphs in the mornings and switch to
an emerger or dun when the hatch begins. Fish the spinner imitations late in the day.
Eastern Pale Evening duns, called Sulphurs by many and the true Sulphurs should both
begin to hatch any day now.
Green Sedges, or caddisflies, should start hatching any day now.
Dark Blue Sedges, or caddisflies, should start hatching this week.
Fishing Report Updated 05/19/14
(Bottom Of Page)
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6
Scuds: size 14
Blue-winged Olives: size 18/16, nymphs, emergers, duns, spinners
Hendricksons/Red Quills, size 12/14, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Green Sedges (caddis), size 14/16, larva, pupa and adults
Eastern Pale Evening Duns, size 14, nymph, emergers, duns and spinners
Sulphurs, size 16/18, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Dark Blue Sedges (caddisflies), size 14, pupa and adults
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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